The Boone and Crockett Club, keeper of big-game hunting records, did a fascinating study of what was used to bag trophies in the three-year period of 2007-2009. No. 1 was surprising enough, but No. 2 was even larger statement on where hunting it headed.
The top calibre was the .300 Magnum. No. 2 was not a calibre at all, but a bow.
That says a lot.
My sentimental favorite, the 30-30, was pretty far down the list with 2 percent of trophies bagged.
The breakdown for whitetail deer was even more interesting with bow No. 1 and muzzleloader/shotgun No. 2.
America's Favorite Trophy Rifle: .300 Magnum
MISSOULA, Mont.--Although the venerable .30-06 and .270 remain among the favorites, Boone and Crockett Club big-game records show that hunters with a .300 Magnum are taking more North American trophies than any other caliber.
Surprisingly, the second-most-popular trophy-taker isn't a firearm--it's a bow.
Boone and Crockett compiled the data from its records book entries from 2007 through 2009. This three-year period of big-game trophies, fair-chase hunting and success in conservation and game management will be celebrated at the Club's 27th triennial Big Game Awards, June 24-26, 2010, at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev. Free attractions include a public exhibition of top-ranking North American big-game trophies in 36 categories taken since 2007, plus a variety of seminars and exhibits.
For more info about the event, visit www.biggameawards.com.
"Trophy entries have increased 400 percent over the past 30 years, which not only means wild, free-ranging, trophy-class specimens are more plentiful now than ever before, it also means we're getting larger samples and better snapshots of today's culture of hunter-conservationists," said Tony Schoonen, chief of staff for the Boone and Crockett Club.
Here are the most commonly used calibers (Note: Records do not distinguish specific variations, i.e. .300 Win. Mag, .300 WSM, .300 Wby. Mag., .300 Ultra Mag, etc.) across all Boone and Crockett categories over the past three years, along with percentages of trophy entries credited to each:
.300 Magnum--18 percent
7mm Magnum--11 percent
.338 Magnum--3 percent
.375 Magnum--2 percent
The .300 Magnum appears among the top three calibers in 11 of the following 15 species recognized in Boone and Crockett trophy records. A bow/crossbow appears in 7 of these 15. Species are arranged by frequency of records book entries 2007-09.
Most popular calibers by species include:
Whitetail deer--1.) Bow/crossbow, 2.) Muzzleloader/shotgun, 3.) .270
Black bear--1.) bow/crossbow, 2.) .300 Magnum, 3.) .30-06
Pronghorn--1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) .270, 3.) 7mm Magnum
Sheep (bighorn, Dall's, desert, Stone's)--1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) 7mm Magnum, 3.) .270
Mule deer--1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) 7mm Magnum, 3.).270
Elk (American, Roosevelt's, Tule)--1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) bow/crossbow, 3.) tie: .30-06, 7mm Magnum
Moose (Alaska-Yukon, Canada, Shiras)--1.) .300 Magnum, 2. ) tie: 7mm Magnum, .338 Magnum
Caribou (barren ground, central Canada barren ground, mountain, Quebec-Labrador, woodland)--1.) .300 Magnum, 2.) .270, 3.) .30-06
Blacktail deer (Columbia, Sitka)--1.) .30-06, 2.) tie: 7mm Magnum,.300 Magnum
Coues' whitetail deer--1.) 7mm Magnum, 2.) .270, 3.) .300 Magnum
Cougar--1.) bow/crossbow, 2.) .30-30, 3.) 6mm
Rocky Mountain goat--1.) tie: .270, .300 Magnum, 3.) tie: 7mm Magnum, .30-06, bow/crossbow, muzzleloader/shotgun
Brown bear/grizzly--1.) .375 Magnum, 2.) .338 Magnum, 3.) .300 Magnum
Muskox--1.) Bow/crossbow, 2.) .300 Magnum, 3.) tie: 6mm, .375 Magnum
Bison--1.) .338 Magnum, 2.) tie: 7mm Magnum, bow/crossbow
The Boone and Crockett Club system of scoring big-game trophies originated in 1906 as means of recording details on species thought to be disappearing due to rampant habitat loss and unregulated hunting. Science-based conservation efforts, led and funded by license-buying hunters, brought those species from vanishing to flourishing.
Boone and Crockett records remain a classic gauge of habitat and management programs.
In addition to its prestigious history and tradition, Boone and Crockett scoring is strongly associated with the highest tenets of fair chase and hunting ethics.
For more about the Club's 27th Big Game Awards, visit www.biggameawards.com.
About the Boone and Crockett Club
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair-chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the National Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For details, visit www.boone-crockett.orgBoo.